Spanish cherry is a lovely green small tree of the Indian subcontinent. With
its small shiny, thick, narrow, pointed leaves, straight trunk and spreading
branches, it is a prized oranamental specimen because it provides a dense shade
and during the months from March to July fills the night air with the
delicious heady aroma of its tiny cream colored flowers.
Flowers are small, star-shaped, yellowish white in color, with a crown
rising from the center. Oval leaves, wavy at margin, about 5-16 cm and 3-7 cm
wide. In the morning the fragrant flowers which so graciously scented their
surroundings with their deep, rich, fragrance during the evening hours, fall
to the ground. People love to collect them as they
retain their odor for many days after they fall. They are offered in temples
and shrines throughout the country.
Appears in Indian mythology as Vakula
- said to put forth
blossoms when sprinkled with nectar from the mouth of lovely women.
Fruits are eaten fresh.
Various parts of the tree have medicinal properties. It is used in the
treatment and maintenance of oral hygiene. Rinsing mouth with water solution
made with bakul helps in strengthening the teeth. It also prevents bad
breath and helps keep the gums healthy.